How Canadian Citizens Can Apply For An H-1B Visa To Enter The United States
The H-1B visa is a work visa which allows Canadian citizens to perform specialty work within the United States. They must work in an occupation which requires the skills of a professional. Specialty occupations are generally an occupation that requires a bachelor’s degree at a minimum or its equivalent. Occupations include accountants, web programmers, computer analysts, engineers, web designers, and financial analysts. In certain cases, relevant experience may be substituted for educational requirements.
Before applying for the visa, the Canadian citizen must already have an offer of a job since their new employer must sponsor them for the visa. H-1B visas may be issued for either a part-time or full-time position. The new employer applies for this visa on behalf of their new employee. Under U.S. law, the employer will serve as the petitioner and the employee is the beneficiary.
The employer first contacts the U.S. Department of Labor and files a Labor Condition Application. This LCA defines the minimum wage for the employee, determining the amount of salary the Canadian citizen will be paid. Once the employer obtains the certified LCA, the employer then completes and submits a form called the Petition for Non-immigrant Worker. This form and the certified LCA are submitted to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. All required fees and documentation must accompany the H-1B visa application. The process typically takes about two months, unless there are requests for additional documentation or other issues.
Applications for the h1b Visa should be submitted by April 1st. There is a quota which limits the number of H-1B visas which may be issued each fiscal year. This quota is often met very shortly after the start of the fiscal year. If you do not get a visa before the quota is met, you cannot file for another year. If you do miss the application date or do not get an H-1B visa, you may file for an L visa or a TN visa to use until you can file for the H-1B visa again.
The earliest start date for an H-1B visa is Oct of the same year it is filed and approved. If the visa application is filed later than April 1st, the visa’s start date may be based on the anticipated approval date.
The H-1B visa is good for up to three years and it may be renewed by your employer for up to six years total. When the visa expires, you will need to depart the U.S. for at least one year and then if you need to return, must reapply for the H-1B visa. During your stay in the U.S. on the H-1B visa, you may apply for a green card based on employment. If you receive the green card, under AC21, you may be eligible to extend your H-1B visa indefinitely.
If you are interested, you may also apply for permanent residency while in the U.S. on the H-1B visa. If you are interested in permanent residency in the U.S., you can apply for resident status.